Massive earthquake hits New Zealand

Widespread damage reported in Christchurch and South Island

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake has hit Christchurch and the wider South Island, causing widespread damage and cutting power. The quake, which hit at 4:35am, was centred 30km west of Christchurch and 33km underground, and there have been reports of severe damage, including buildings being flattened, roads being torn apart, and water pipes rupturing. Emergency services say so far only minor injuries have been reported, though power remains out in most of Christchurch and the central city has been closed down by police because of the rubble in the streets. The Director of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, John Hamilton, said that the National Crisis Management Centre has been activated to co-ordinate a central government response if required.


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